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Scams and Cons

 

Read the Latest Issue of Scams Bulletin - January 2016 (Focusing on Investment Scams) - produced by Hampshire Trading Standards

 

Also refer to Hampshire Trading Standards on this Site

 

The purpose of this scams bulletin is to enable Hampshire residents to be aware, and therefore guard against the type of scams currently being reported to the Hampshire Trading Standards Service.

 

the hampshire and isle of wight community foundation invite you to undertake a brief survey on scams, frauds and cons

 

This Year's Vital Signs survey is looking at fraud in the home and it will help to inform and guide the Foundation’s understanding of how fraud, including cybercrime, impacts local people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

We hope that once again you will all take a few minutes out of your busy lives to help us with this important survey.

 

We would be most grateful if you could please complete it by Monday 11th July 2016 by clicking on the link below:

 

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/scams

 

be scamsmart - investment scams are designed to look like genuine investments

 

 

 

Hampshire Trading Standards Service would like residents to be alert to a telephone scam that has recently been reported in the Farnborough area.

 

The scam starts with a phone call from a male purporting to be ‘Sgt Harris’ from Hammersmith Police.  ‘Harris’ advises the resident that they have detained a member of bank staff under suspicion of fraudulent activity on the residents bank account.  ‘Harris’ then askes the resident to call 161 (or 061) satisfy themselves that he is a genuine caller.   The resident then hangs up, but ‘Harris’ then keeps the telephone line open.  When the resident calls 161 or 061 an accomplice answers and confirms ‘Harris’ is a genuine caller. 

 

The resident is then advised to call their bank.  Again the line is left open by the accomplice, but the resident thinks they have started a new call.  The person answering this time claims to be from the bank, and after taking some security details and a mobile phone number, tells the resident that a large amount of money has been removed from their account, and put back in as counterfeit money.  This money needs to be withdrawn from the account and handed to the Police at an arranged contact point. 

 

Further calls are made to the residents mobile phone number to encourage them to get the money.

 

It should be noted that there are variations on this scam and the information is not restricted to the above.  Although reports have come in from the Farnborough area, there is no reason to suspect that this may not be a countywide issue.  Trading Standards would advise consumers never to give personal details to any person who has called them on the telephone,  no matter who they say they are.  The Police will never ask a resident to withdraw money.

 

If any resident is contacted by  the Police, and they are suspicious, best advise is to get a collar number from the caller.  Using a different phone, or after 20 minutes, call 101 and ask for the officer.

 

To report a scam or suspicious phone call, contact our partners at the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 05 06 07, or the Police on 101.

shop safely on-line this christmas

 

Shopping online can be fun and convenient but are you doing all you can to keep yourself and your family safe on the internet?

Do you know how to keep your credit card secure whilst shopping online? Is your card registered for added security measures such as Verified by Visa, MasterCard Secure or American Express SafeKey?

Here are some steps for safe online shopping;

1. Website URL address security: Look for the https at the start of the URL and make sure the green bar and padlock are present in the browser bar.

2. Wifi security: Check you are connecting to the right network. Avoid making financial transactions on public wifi and use a password protected network.

3. Avoid unsolicited emails: Links and files in unknown emails could be a scam and hold viruses or take you to fake sites to collect your personal or financial details.

4. Using online banking: Check your statements regularly or get mobile alerts for your bank account.

5. Beware of fraud: Report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud as well as your bank

6. Remember to Log Out: Always log out after an online transaction instead of just closing down the browser.

7. Security Software is essential. Use age appropriate filters to monitor your children’s activities and block inappropriate online activities. Update regularly!

8. Social Networks: These are increasingly used by fraudsters. Watch out for things like fake friend requests and YouTube links containing malware.

9. Tickets: Be cautious when buying tickets online. Figures suggest that 1 in 10 ticket buyers have purchased fakes at some time.

10. Use a secure payment site such as PayPal unless you know who you’re paying money to.

11. Ideally ensure you know who you are buying from.

12. Register your credit card with Verified by Visa, Mastercard Secure or American Express Safekey for added security.

13. The sale of goods act applies to online sales in the UK – so make sure you are buying from the UK!

14. Read terms and conditions before agreeing, as accepting is entering into a legally binding agreement!

 

We can all do our bit to make Hampshire an even safer and better place to be so if you have information about ANY crime, please do not hesitate to give Crimestoppers a call on 0800 555 111. You can also log on to www.crimestoppers-uk.org to give information online anonymously. For those of you Twittered up, please follow me @HantsCrimestopp for regular updates.

 

PEOPLES POSTCODE LOTTERY SCAM

 

Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service would like to raise awareness of a letter scam currently being received by several Hampshire residents.  The letter is titled "People’s Postcode Lottery", usually in coloured type,  and states that a big money win of £825,000 has been allocated to the recipient in a draw of the People’s Postcode Lottery 2015 Award International programs held in Madrid, Spain.

 

The letter contains poor grammar and looks home produced.  It claims to be from the People's Postcode Lottery, gives a London address, London phone number and is signed by 'Baron Wheels' President of the company.  In order to start a claim the recipient is asked to contact the Foreign Service Manager.

 

The letter is to be regarded as a mass marketed fraud, and is very similar to the typical ‘Spanish Lottery’ scam that has been around for years.  Any attempts to respond to the letter will result in personal data and an administration fee being requested.  Further money will then be requested.

 

Under no circumstances should personal information or money be sent.  There is no prize, and the money will not be recovered.

 

The genuine People's Postcode Lottery says it will not, under any circumstances, request a payment to receive any prize. If you receive a letter, email or text message claiming to be from the People’s Postcode Lottery, please call 0808 1098765 to check with their customer service team.

 

Remember - it is not possible to win a lottery unless you have personally purchased a ticket.

 

To read a typical letter that be used.  Read More ...

 

For further consumer advice or to report a matter to Trading Standards, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

  

light/lite loans fraud alert

 

Fraudsters are targeting individuals who have recently expressed an interest in an online loan. Unsolicited calls are made by fraudsters who appear to be calling from a genuine company. They state that the recently applied for loan has been agreed, but an "advance fee" is required before the money can be transferred.

Once these “fees” have been paid, either directly to the fraudsters’ bank accounts or through a money service bureau, they are unrecoverable. In many cases, fraudsters have asked for multiple upfront “fees” to address issues arising with the loan.
 
Protect yourself:

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.
THE NATIONAL FRAUD INTELLIGENCE BUREAU WARNINGS ABOUT WINE INVESTMENT FRAUDS

 

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) wishes to remind investors that fraudsters are still active and are using various methods to dupe victims into investing in fine wine.
 
Whilst it might be easy to identify a fraudulent investment in non-existent fine wine, there is another tactic which is much harder to detect that relies on limited knowledge of the investor in this specific area. 
 
In many cases, the fraud relates to the value of the wine as opposed to the existence of the wine. Therefore, fraudsters will be able to prove to the victims that they have the wine in stock, however the wine in stock will be significantly cheaper than the inflated price the fraudsters ask the victims to pay.
 
Whilst it may look like a ‘real deal’, the dramatically inflated prices make the promise of any returns unrealistic.
 
Assessments of reports show that fraudsters charge victims an average of 47% more than the comparative market values at the time of sale.
 
The brokers who typically cold call victims boast that an increasing market in China will guarantee tax free profits. When questioned about risk, fraudsters will convincingly say that it is “extremely low”.
 
How to protect yourself against investment fraud:

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.
Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service would like to alert residents to reports of suspicious unsolicited telephone calls from individuals claiming to be from Hampshire County Council. 

 

Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service would like to alert residents to reports of suspicious unsolicited telephone calls from individuals claiming to be from Hampshire County Council. 
 
The callers ask if the recipient has had an accident in the workplace or in the car.
 
Trading Standards suspect these calls to be ‘phishing’ attempts to gain personal information, and are concerned that money may be asked for.  Advice is to never give out personal information and never to pay any money over the telephone to unknown persons.
 
Hampshire County Council will not cold call to ask for money over the telephone.

Residents alerted to bogus cold callers claiming to be from Solent Green Deal and New Forest District Council

New Forest District Council has been made aware that several residents in the district have received cold calls from two individuals claiming to be working with the council on the Solent Green Deal scheme and asking for householders' details. Reports so far have been from the Lyndhurst area. These individuals are not representing the council or Solent Green Deal. Neither the council nor Solent Green Deal use cold callers to promote schemes or services and all NFDC staff working on council business carry formal identification with them.

 

Residents who receive a cold call like this are asked to report it to the Police by telephoning 101. The police will share information with Hampshire Trading Standards. Concerned householders can also contact Hampshire Trading Standards Quick Response Team for further advice, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, on 01962 833666.

 

Anyone who encounters the bogus cold callers is encouraged to note as much information as they can to provide to the police and Trading Standards, such as the company name given by the callers, descriptions of the individuals or a vehicle registration. Local people are urged to remain vigilant for individuals cold calling in their area and to keep a lookout for elderly or vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours.

 

Cllr Jill Cleary, New Forest District Council portfolio holder for housing and communities, advised: "Legitimate cold callers will carry identification, so always examine it carefully. Do not allow anyone into your home whom you are unsure of and do not give any personal details or sign up to any work on the doorstep."

 

Solent Green Deal is a scheme developed for Hampshire residents by local authorities and supported by New Forest District Council, which can help people to make energy improvements to their homes. Solent Green Deal only works with a list of approved contractors and would not employ cold callers. For details of the scheme and approved contractors visit solentgreendeal.org.uk or call freephone 0800 052 2242.

 

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